I studied Chinese medicine in the 1980’s and immediately became bored with it. But after self-studying Chinese language for a short while, I felt like the blacks, whites, and grays of TCM transformed into brilliant color. I began trying to decode some ancient texts, especially those of the Ming dynasty. I also tried to absorb the philosophical and cultural background that a Ming dynasty doctor would possess. Eventually I understood that the goal was to try to build myself a virtual Ming mind (impossible to perfect, but beneficial to try). If one ancient statement could summarize what I have learned, it is:
The human body is a small heaven and earth. Zhāng Jièbīn, from Lèi Jīng Fù Yì ( Míng)
One of my favorite things to do is to search the old books for a procedure or type of recipe, something that is not commonly used today, and try to work out how to do or make it. Many of them are no longer practical or usable, but some are quite marvelous and I wonder why they fell into disuse. I have replicated various ancient methods of moxibustion, and made recipes for syrups, ointments, plasters, medicinal incense, medicinal snuff, and so forth. Some of these are quite useful today. I like to teach them, write about them, and document them.
I am much more of a researcher than practitioner, but many of the techniques that I have rediscovered get revived through my students. I want this knowledge to help patients and increase the scope of our medicine. My more successful experiments are documented in the Medicine-Making page and the Moxibustion: The Power of Mugwort Fire page on Facebook.